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The Urantia Book Fellowship

God, Man, and Supreme

Revelation and Compromise

The revelators of The Urantia Book plainly acknowledge that every divine revelation of truth strives for an appropriate and adequate symbolism within which to frame new and expanding ideas, ideals, and loyalties:

We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. [UB 0:XII:12 (17:2)]

This developing symbolism must co-evolve with the practiced enhancement of religious living and spiritual experience that is generated by this potent infusion of revelation. Unfortunately, the social impact of a major new revelation is often compromised by having to make costly concessions to the established norms and practices of the preceding religious and moral establishment. Even such a divine revelation as is presented in The Urantia Book must necessarily submit "to the graduated control of evolution." [UB 89:9:3 (984:2)]

The Urantia Book itself poses a theological compromise by supporting a continuity of male-gender-oriented language in its presentation of the elevated concepts of God's eternal purpose for creation and the perfecting harmony within this cosmic arena of time and space. Acknowledging this, we can be relatively assured that this approach was permitted "for the sake of the safe transit of moral values from one epoch to another ... all the while seeking to translate from one generation to another the imperishable values of the old and passing forms into the new and therefore less stabilized patterns of thought and conduct." [UB 114:6:7 (1255:6)]

Revelation is evolutionary but always progressive. Down through the ages of a world's history, the revelations of religion are ever-expanding and successively more enlightening. It is the mission of revelation to sort and censor the successive religions of evolution. But if revelation is to exalt and upstep the religions of evolution, then must such divine visitations portray teachings which are not too far removed from the thought and reactions of the age in which they are presented. Thus must and does revelation always keep in touch with evolution. Always must the religion of revelation be limited by man's capacity of receptivity. [UB 92:4:1 (1007:1)]

Humankind is involved in an age-long struggle to elevate the planetary status of its mortal dwelling. This effort requires constant struggles, appraisals, and readjustments that are necessary for a smooth transition from the "sheltered bays of established tradition" to the "high seas of evolutionary destiny." A key function of an established religion during these trying times is to provide a critical degree of stabilizing tradition and religious guidance.

The paramount mission of religion as a social influence is to stabilize the ideals of mankind during these dangerous times of transition from one phase of civilization to another, from one level of culture to another. [UB 99:1:3 (1086:6]

In the times of Melchizedek's dealings with Abraham regarding the reinforcement of the concept of one God as universal Deity, "there was always the tendency for the new doctrine to become absorbed into the older body of religious teaching and magical practice. A new revelation is always contaminated by the older evolutionary techniques." [UB 93:7:4 (1022:2)] This awareness, though, should not necessarily motivate us to completely disregard established conventions and beliefs - too radical a break with cultural and religious tradition supplies its own dangers and pitfalls. There always lurks the recognized threat of subsequent cultural breakdown that accompanies each "transition from the established methods of the past to those new and better, but untried, procedures of the future." [UB 81:6:41 (911:6)]

Other examples are presented in The Urantia Book to illustrate the process by which a new theology inevitably yields, in some degree, to an older and more established religious tradition in order to salvage its higher values of moral thought and spiritual insight. In the life and teachings of Jesus, we are taught that we are the children of God, and this acknowledgement thereby establishes the ultimate reality of the brotherhood of man. Over time, this revelation became subtly couched within the concept of the kingdom of heaven as a concession to those listeners of Jesus' message who were immobilized in their thought by their limited understanding of divine purposes and relationships. These potential followers could more easily understand the idea of God and his universe in terms of a heavenly kingdom - many of them lived out their lives under the auspices of a temporal king. The truth that Jesus revealed remains truth, but the imagery that he used to convey this truth was colored by the time and place of ancient Israel. At that time, the idea of the kingdom was the best vehicle of expression to convey the maximum of the truth. Nevertheless, it was a necessary concession/compromise because there was some sacrifice of intended meaning. I do not think that Jesus really wanted to imply that the Father was king, but this idea carried much of the intended truth.

At the time Jesus lived on earth and taught in the flesh, the people of Urantia knew mostly of kings and emperors in the governments of the nations, and the Jews had long contemplated the coming of the kingdom of God. For these and other reasons, the Master thought best to designate the spiritual brotherhood of man as the kingdom of heaven and the spirit head of this brotherhood as the Father in heaven. [UB 169:4:1 (1855:2)]

Jesus himself could not fully escape the persistent expectations for the coming Messiah that occupied the thoughts and aspirations of his followers. The core of Jesus' mission was integrally influenced by his compromise to acknowledge for himself the title of the Son of Man.

In the course of this year Jesus found a passage in the so-called Book of Enoch which influenced him in the later adoption of the term "Son of Man" as a designation for his bestowal mission on Urantia. He had thoroughly considered the idea of the Jewish Messiah and was firmly convinced that he was not to be that Messiah. Likewise he was certain he was never to appear as the Son of Man depicted by the Prophet Daniel. [UB 126:3:6 (1390:1)]

The writer of this so-called Book of Enoch went on to tell about this Son of Man, describing the work he would do on earth and explaining that this Son of Man, before coming down on this earth to bring salvation to mankind, had walked through the courts of heavenly glory with his Father, the Father of all; and that he had turned his back upon all this grandeur and glory to come down on earth to proclaim salvation to needy mortals. As Jesus would read these passages (well understanding that much of the Eastern mysticism which had become admixed with these teachings was erroneous), he responded in his heart and recognized in his mind that of all the Messianic predictions of the Hebrew scriptures and of all the theories about the Jewish deliverer, none was so near the truth as this story tucked away in this only partially accredited Book of Enoch; and he then and there decided to adopt as his inaugural title "the Son of Man." And this he did when he subsequently began his public work. [UB 126:3:8 (1390:3)]

This theological concession eventually helped to bring about the unfortunate submersion of the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus, a religion that embodies the "mystic conception of the person of Jesus as the Redeemer-Creator and spiritual head of a socialized religious community. In this way a formal and institutional church became the substitute for the individually spirit-led brotherhood of the kingdom." [UB 170:5:9 (1864:9)] 

Even Jesus' apostles found it both necessary and prudent to offer concessions to the followers of John the Baptist, under the leadership of Abner, as the price for continued unity. By accepting the practice of baptism into their mutual ministry to the common people, the apostles were able to secure the good will and devoted efforts of these fervent followers of the Baptist. This concession was relatively minor considering the extensive sacrifices made by the followers of John the Baptist.

Always does the socialized religion of a new revelation pay the price of compromise with the established forms and usages of the preceding religion which it seeks to salvage. Baptism was the price which the followers of Jesus paid in order to carry with them, as a socialized religious group, the followers of John the Baptist. John's followers, in joining Jesus' followers, gave up just about everything except water baptism. [UB 144:7:1 (1626:2)] 

We should try to gain insights into these reported accounts of theological compromises and concessions that have influenced attempts at revealing higher levels of thought and more progressive ideals for living the perfecting life. If we are successful, we may be in a position to be more appreciative of the decision by the revelators of the papers within The Urantia Book to choose our traditional conventions of gender-oriented terminology in their attempts to explain functional personality relationships - both divine and temporal. They purposefully chose to do so to make the complicated intricacies regarding the portrayal of these relationships more effectively understandable to a planet of sex creatures.

In our attempt to comprehend the revelatory disclosures contained within The Urantia Book, we are admonished to recognize the conceptual forest before we attempt to distinguish between the individual and derivative trees. God's eternal purpose for his creation, which includes men and women as integral participants, is presented in The Urantia Book by beginning with the nature of God himself first and foremost. The subsequent papers proceed from this apex of revealed divinity to progressively more derivative revealment into the experiential levels of reality that progressively rely more and more on God as their existential ground. The Urantia Book is purposely structured to reveal the foundation of God's existential basis, and then to proceed from this existential foundation to progressively more derivative and dependent relationships.

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